Toyota announced today that it has canceled plans to introduce a redesigned Corolla for the 2014 model year, and will instead continue to sell the current model indefinitely.
“We sold 290,000 Corollas in 2012, a 50,000 unit increase over model year 2011,” explained Toyota spokesmodel Moe Lester. “Clearly, the Corolla is still in demand. While we know this decision will disappoint a lot of people, especially Toyota employees and dealers, we have to go where the market takes us.”
Toyota has been showing a thinly disguised prototype of the next-generation Corolla, called the Corolla Furia concept, on this year’s auto show circuit. Automotive journalists, who have described the current Corolla as “dated,” “behind the times,” and “pathetic,” have lauded the Furia concept, calling it “not dated,” “not behind the times,” and “not pathetic.”
“No question, the Corolla Furia would have been a huge improvement over the current Corolla,” Lester told Autoblopnik. “Are we disappointed in our own decision? A bit, yes. Building a compact sedan with the personality of a house plant gets very old very quickly, especially when the rest of the industry has moved on and we’re still stuck in the year 2003. But there is still a large segment of sad, boring people who want a sad, boring car, and at the end of the day, we’re in business to make money.”
According to Lester, Toyota had established marketing deals for the redesigned Corolla with companies like Urban Outfitters, Whole Foods, and Apple Computer.
“Unfortunately, we had to scrap those,” he explains. “But we do have some exciting co-branding opportunities with Jo-Ann Fabric Stores, Bayer Aspirin, and the Kansas Department of Tourism.”
Lester says that Toyota will continue to build the current-generation Corolla “until demand dries up or until every last Toyota employee commits suicide in order to escape the mind-numbing dreariness of our cars, whichever comes last.”
In a stunning move that stunned a lot of people, Toyota president and CEO Akio Toyoda has resigned from the automotive giant that almost bears his family name.
Toyoda’s resignation comes in the immediate wake of Henrik Fisker’s resignation from the car company that does actually bear his name, a move that Toyoda says inspired his own.
“I didn’t realize that quitting was an option,” said Toyoda, speaking through an interpreter. “Then I heard that Henrik left Fisker, and I thought, fuck this, I’m out of here.”
Akio Toyoda is the great-granson of Sakichi Toyoda, who founded the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works in 1926. The company started producing automobiles in 1937, and had its name changed to Toyota when it came through Ellis Island shortly thereafter. Akio joined the family business in 1984, and took over as CEO after a series of non-family CEOs led to a string of boring cars, ill-tempered floor mats, and buyers who couldn’t tell the brake and accelerator pedals apart.
“When I was offered the presidency, I figured it was just something I had to do,” said Toyoda. “People hear your name and they say ‘Oh, like Toyota the car? Do you work for them? You ought to work for them.’ You try to explain to people that no, what you really want to be is a painter, but they just won’t listen. Finally I took a job with the company, so I could just say ‘Yes I do’ and be rid of these assholes, but then they started asking me which one is spelled wrong. God, do I hate people.”
Toyoda is generally regarded as a successful leader for his handling of the 2009-2010 recalls, which threatened to destroy the good will Toyota had built up with American customers over several decades. However, Toyoda now says his tenure was one of strife and internal struggle.
“Toyota builds some of the most reliable and unobtrusive cars in the world,” he said. “You think I wanted that to be my legacy? Hell no, I didn’t. I advocated for switching exclusively to V8 engines with no catalytic converters and glass-pack mufflers. CAFE standards? I’ll tell you what you can do with your CAFE standards, President Obammunist. Needless to say, I got a lot of pushback. This is what happens when you try to innovate.”
“It’s not like working for Toyota gets you girls or anything,” continued Toyoda after Autoblopnik had turned off its tape recorder, packed up its stuff, mumbled some thank-you-and-goodbye-noises and made it clear that it had to go, or at least we thought we did, but apparently not. “Enzo Ferrari used to get laid all the time. All he had to say was ‘Yes, as a matter of fact, I am that Ferrari.’ Ferdinand Porsche was up to his man-boobs in poon, although I think the fact that he knew Hitler helped him out. But when you tell girls you’re part of the Toyoda family, you can almost hear their thighs slam shut. All they want know is whether you can get their aunt a discount for oil changes on her Camry. Hey, you want to go get a beer? I’ve got a massage scheduled this evening, but other than that, my schedule is wide open.”
In the wake of its proposed $1.1 billion payout to settle unintended acceleration claims, Toyota today announced that it will eliminate gas pedals and transmissions from all US-market vehicles starting in 2013.
“Toyota has a loyal base of customers who appreciate our cars’ unrivaled economy and reliability,” said unintended Toyota spokesman Moe “Joe” Chen. “Unfortunately, a lot of them are too fucking stupid to understand that stepping on the accelerator while the car is in gear causes it to move, and that neither stepping harder on the accelerator nor hiring a lawyer and suing us will bring about a reversal of this situation. We’ve decided we can best serve our customers by addressing this at a hardware level.”
US-bound Toyotas built after January 1st, 2013, will have no accelerator pedals or linkages and no connection between the engine and the drive wheels. The cars will also have a giant red button on the steering wheel that says “OH GOD PLEASE STOP RIGHT THE FUCK NOW!” that will cut power to the engine, apply the brakes, and chop off the driver’s feet so as to override any cases of “pedal confusion”.
Additionally, Toyota has issued a massive recall for all models back to the 1959 Toyopet which involves removing the accelerator pedal, permanently securing the transmission into Park or Neutral, replacing the “PRNDL” shifter bezel with one that just says “P”, welding the front brake pads to the discs, removing the wheels and tires, and chaining the car securely to a twenty-ton cement block.
As an added safety precaution, all Toyotas, old and new, will have a large yellow sticker affixed to the windshield that says “WARNING: DRIVING, RIDING IN, LOOKING AT, OR BEING ANYWHERE NEAR A MOTOR VEHICLE MAY CAUSE INJURY, DEATH, AND/OR FINANCIALLY RUINOUS LITIGATION THAT WILL NET YOU JUST ENOUGH FOR LUNCH AT DENNY’S IF YOU’RE LUCKY, WHILE PAYING FOR YOUR ATTORNEY’S NEW BOAT.”
“We are confident that these alterations will put an end to the unintended acceleration issue once and for all,” said Chen. “Additionally, our customers will enjoy the added benefits of lower fuel and maintenance costs, and we won’t have to worry about getting sued every time someone has a brain fart and forgets what the pedals do.”
Toyota has also taken steps to guard against the financial impact of future legal action.
“There may be situations we haven’t foreseen that could lead to litigation,” said Chen. “Parking a Toyota on the edge of a sandy cliff, for example, could cause an unintended acceleration issue that leads to a lawsuit. So just to be on the safe side, our list prices will now include a $25,000 surcharge that goes directly to some random lawyer the buyer has never met.”
An apologetic Toyota apologized to the motoring public today after announcing that the 2013 RAV4 shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show was not the actual production vehicle.
“The SUV revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show was not the new RAV4, but was in fact a design study done by one of our employees as a moonlighting project for a competing automaker,” explained Toyota spokesman Ashiro Nakasorry. “The guilty party has been reprimanded and punished with a 2-year extension of his employment contract.”
Nakasorry would not give exact details as to how the American public relations department revealed the wrong vehicle, describing it only as “a massive miscommunication” and “an act of regrettable optimism.”
“Toyota would never knowingly risk alienating its loyal customers by introducing a vehicle with such unique and radical styling,” Nakasorry told Autoblopnik. “We humbly apologize to the motoring public, and while we are not ready to reveal the actual 2013 Toyota RAV4 just yet, we can assure you that it will be comfortably predictable and derivative. Actually, it looks a lot like the current one with a slightly different grille, but you didn’t hear that from me.”
Toyota Employee Magazine, an in-house monthly magazine published by and for Toyota staff, has named the all-new Toyota Avalon as its 2013 Car of the Year.
“This was a very difficult decision,” said Phil Staggeringly, the magazine’s editor-in-chief and a forklift driver at Toyota’s Torrence, California parts warehouse. “In the end, it came down to a very close race between the Toyota Avalon, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Venza, Toyota Prius, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Sequoia, and the Toyota Tundra. This was not an easy decision to make.”
Staggeringly says the magazine’s staff of three realized the Avalon could well be seen as a controversial choice. “We feel that the Avalon represents the future of the non-premium full-size front-wheel-drive sedan, and as good as those other cars are — and believe me, they are very, very good — that’s a claim they just can’t make.”
Charles Greenfinger, a part-time accountant for Toyota Finance who also serves as the magazine’s assistant road test editor, told Autoblopnik the Avalon was picked from a pool of semi-finalists that included the aforementioned Toyotas as well as his mother’s 1992 Ford Escort and a Chevrolet Impala rented by a visiting executive.
“Aside from all the other Toyota models, the competition really didn’t come close to the Avalon,” he said.
Staggeringly says he expects the Avalon’s Car of the Year title to be well received by other automotive journalists.
“You’d expect us to heap prase on the Avalon because we’re a company magazine, but we aren’t the only publication singing the new Avalon’s praises. Motor Turd Magazine called the Avalon ‘The largest sedan built by a Japanese company in Kentucky,’ while Cart and Diver says the Avalon ‘accomodates five people and their luggage.’ Even TheTwatsAboutCars.com said ‘The Avalon has standard leather seats and an optional navigation system,’ and you know how stingy those guys are with their praise.”
2013 is only the fourth year for Toyota Employee Magazine‘s prestigious Car of the Year Award. Previous winners have included the Toyota Camry, the Toyota Prius, and the Toyota Venza.
As the industry prepares for the first major auto show of the 2013 season, automakers have gleefully announced their plans for the show’s press preview days.
“Mazda is going to have the loudest pre-press-conference music in the history of the Los Angeles Auto Show,” said spokesbraga Jeremy “Bev” Irons. “We’ve got an all-new 600,000-watt sound system with 155 speakers, one for every victim of the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake. Believe you me, when the our press conference begins, every Angeleno from Simi Valley to Seal Beach is going to know it.”
Toyota issued a pre-show press release saying it plans to debut a new billion-watt lighting system that, according to spokesbulb Moe Tehterball, “will make the California sun look like a guttering candle.”
Tim Gogetter, spokesman for Infiniti, said Nissan’s luxury division was planning a unique entertainment spectacle. “Remember those dancers we had for the G37 Convertible reveal that everyone said were really annoying? Well, they’re back — only this time, we’re going to set them on fire.”
Ford remained tight lipped about their LA show plans, but Autoblopnik was able to get the story from a junior PR staffer, who spoke on the condition that we not tell his boss he tried to sell us a bag of oregano before realizing we were journalists.
“So, like, we’re going to have this animatronic Mark Fields, and it’s going to look exactly like him, except it’ll have, like, two or three hairs out of place. And the animatronic Mark Fields is going to start doing the press conference in Mark’s voice, and just when people in the audience are all like, ‘Whoa, dude, like what’s up with Mark Fields’ hair?’, the real Mark Fields is going to come out on stage and be all like ‘I don’t think so!’ and then he’s going to shoot the animatronic Mark Fields with a bazooka, and it’s going to explode and flash drives with the Ford press kit are going to rain down, like, everywhere. I don’t get it, but my boss says that anything having to do with Mark Fields’ hair will get like a thousand stories on Jalopnik and The Truth About Cars, so, like, whatever, dude.”
When asked what new vehicles and concepts would be appearing at the show, none of the company representatives with whom we spoke had any comment.
In the wake of early sales success with the Scion FR-S, Toyota has elected to expand its partnership with Subaru to include cooperative engineering on the next Corolla, Camry, and RAV4.
“Once we drove the FR-S, we realized that our cars just suck,” said Toyota spokesman Joe “Moe” Tetherball. “Sure, our vehicles are reliable, but let’s face it, they’re as boring as whale shit. So we figured it was time to farm out more of the work to Subaru. After all, we own 17% of them, and they have to do whatever we say. Watch this: Hey, Subaru! Subaru! Come here and polish my shoes.”
As with the Scion FR-S, Tetherball says, Toyota will maintain a strong influence over all aspects of the new cars.
“Subaru’s engineering involvement on these new cars will be limited to the engine, transmission, driveline, body design, suspension, ride quality, driving dynamics, safety engineering, interior styling, electrical systems and software, and trim selection,” Tetherball explained. “But the over-arching concept, which was to build a car about yay big, and another smaller one and another one that’s sort of like an SUV, that was done entirely by Toyota personnel. Aside from the way the cars look, feel and drive, they will be Toyotas through and through.”
Autoblopnik asked for a comment from a Subaru representative, who promised to get back to us as soon as he had Toyota’s permission.
Toyota announced today that they have fired lead Camry interior designer Ashiro Nakasota in the wake of praise for the 2012 Camry’s redesigned interior.
“Reviews of the new Camry have described the interior as ‘classy looking’, ‘a victory of designers over accountants’, and ‘lacking the rental-car anonymity of the old Camry’,” said Toyota spokesman Ashiro Nakaspokesman. “Consumers are using terms like ‘modern’, ‘luxurious’, and ‘attractive’. Needless to say, this is a completely unacceptable situation for the Camry.”
Toyota’s President of Operations, Ashiro Nakabigcheese, issued a written statement about the decision to sack Nakasota. “The Camry has a hard-earned reputation as a boring, predictable car for boring, predictable people. This level of design appeal is totally unacceptable and not at all in line with our corporate values. We sincerely apologize to our loyal buyers, and give our solemn promise that this will not happen again.”
Responsibility for the cabin redesign has been handed over to Acting Design Cheif Ashiro Nakatemporary, who led the interior design on the previous-generation Camry and Corolla. Nakatemporary is planning a new interior for the 2015 Camry, the dashboard of which he says will feature “the largest single-piece plastic molding in the history of the automotive industry.”
Former General Motors marketing chief Joel Ewanick granted an exclusive interview to Autoblopnik in which he said he is going to take some time to decide on his next career step, but is eager to return to the automotive industry.
“When you’ve worked as many jobs as I have in such a short time, sometimes it’s good to take a break and get some perspective,” the Wharton graduate told Autoblopnik from his office at the Boeing Aircraft company, where he was just one hour into his new job as Vice President of Marketing for the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer. In that time, Ewanick had already doubled the number of aircraft orders he generated at European rival Airbus, which had employed him as Director of Sales the previous afternoon.
“General Motors is one of the world’s great companies,” Ewanick said, breezing out of his office to accept a job as chief of marketing for Pepsi-Cola, where he increased overall market share by seven percent before being hired away for the rest of the afternoon by Johnson Wax. “Yes, it was harder to get things done than it was at Hyundai, or Nissan, or Porsche, or Home Depot, or Black & Decker, or Wal-Mart, or Pep Boys, or the State of Idaho, or even Dell, though maybe not as tough as General Dynamics or Burger King or Weyerhauser. Still, it’s cool to say you worked at General Motors, even when you’ve headed up marketing for companies like US Shoe and Dunder-Mifflin and Kroger Markets and been head of research for Corning Labs and DKNY.”
During a break for dinner, which he spent turning down positions at RJR Nabisco (“I hate smoking,” Ewanick explained) and Target (“Homophobes”) and briefly taking over as the Prime Minister of Uganda, Ewanick said he would love to work in the automotive industry again, and that he has had “productive talks” with Mazda, Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, Kia, Fisker, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Suzuki and Audi, some or all of which he planned to work for in the next week.
“The goal is to find a company where I can settle down for a good long time,” he told us as he contemplated a job offer from NBC-Universal and designed a sneaker that lets you jump to the moon. “Like maybe a month.”
As the sun set behind the picture window of his new office at 3M, which hired him just as our interview was drawing to a close, Mr. Ewanick leaned back in his chair, invented a kind of toothpaste that doesn’t make orange juice taste terrible, and picked up a picture of wife and children.
“These guys are all that really matters,” he said, pausing to wipe away a tear and cure cancer. “The people who love you. That’s what is really important.”
In an effort to dispel the notion that both the Toyota Corolla and the people who drive them are insufferably dull, Toyota has announced a new print advertising campaign entitled “Corolla Drivers Are Interesting”. Modeled loosely after Microsoft’s successful “I’m a PC” ads, the campaign highlights real-life Corolla owners who have interesting habits, hobbies or pastimes.
“We want to turn the Corolla into an aspiration product by showing that Corolla drivers are more than just mindless drones who make boring, predictable decisions,” said Hortense Preoccupied, Toyota’s brand advertising manager. “These ads show real Corolla drivers who have interests well beyond the ordinary and mundane. These are exciting people that other less-exciting people will want to emulate.”
Subjects for the ads include an accountant who once intentionally wore two different colored socks to work, a college student who routinely stays up past ten PM, and a middle-age couple that orders their bacon cheeseburgers with extra cheese and extra bacon. Toyota did say they rejected an ad featuring a young professional woman who sometimes has sex with the lights on as “too racy” for the Corolla’s target market.
Toyota’s advertising agency, Cultem Moore Howe Stravinsky Beaman Kyle Smith-Whorton and Brown, says they have only produced a total of six ads so far, but with approximately 4 million Corollas currently on the road, they are hopeful they can find one or two more subjects by the end of the year.